Repurpose Buildings for Arts and Culture

Repurpose Buildings for Arts and Culture

What can a community do with an underused building? Repurpose the space!  Find out at the Northern New Jersey Community Foundation’s ArtsBergen Connect the Dots event, Repurposing Buildings for Arts and Culture.  Attend this informative discussion on Thursday, May 17.

The networking event takes place at the Art Center of Northern New Jersey, 250 Center Street in New Milford, New Jersey.  Join us from 6:00 8:00 p.m. The event is free.  As always, good-will donations are welcome.

Connect and Network

Repurpose an underused space. This is a before image of a space.

Repurpose a space in a building. This shows what was there.

Do you live or work in Bergen County? Then, connect with artists, municipal and community leaders.  Also, historians and business owners from the area are welcome to attend. Besides that, meet others with similar interests.

A panel of speakers identifies ways to make the county a more vibrant destination.   They also examine adaptive reuse of space for arts- and cultural-based community development.  Afterward, an interactive question and answer follows.

Repurpose Space

A seasoned panel discusses completed projects in the region.  They examine potential sites and opportunities in Bergen County. Of note, these are the panel’s featured speakers:

  • Cynthia Forster, Director, Bergen County Division of Cultural and Historic Affairs;
  • Bill Kraus, Principal, C.W. Kraus Preservation & Development; and
  • Michael Shannon, President, Northern New Jersey Community Foundation.

The panel discusses the steps involved to repurpose a building.  These steps span concept development to financing. Another topic examines getting buy-in from the community, artists, politicians and commercial stakeholders.  Also, the speakers look at  the artists’ roles and their involvement.

Repurpose a space

The after image of a repurposed space

For example, Art Center of Northern New Jersey uses a repurposed building.  The organization provides a fine arts school and gallery.  In addition, the Center offers arts classes to the general public. Founded in 1956, the organization identified its current home in 1984.  Eventually, they repurposed the Lutheran Church-St. Matthews for their use.


Diamonds in the Rough

“Underutilized, vacant, or historic properties are often diamonds in the rough.  They also can be a community’s unseen assets. The Northern New Jersey Community Foundation’s ArtsBergen promotes creative placemaking. This practice integrates arts and culture into a region, city or neighborhood. Part of creative placemaking’s work sees the potential these buildings offer.   In addition, they can strengthen and enrich community life through arts- and culture-based purposes,” said Danielle De Laurentis, Associate Director, Northern New Jersey Community Foundation.


Because space is limited, pre-register to attend.  Finally, register online or contact

For further information about the Foundation or ArtsBergen, contact or call 201-568-5608.

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